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Be Amazed (Minor Prophets): Restoring an Attitude of Wonder and Worship

Be Amazed (Minor Prophets): Restoring an Attitude of Wonder and Worship

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Be Amazed (Minor Prophets): Restoring an Attitude of Wonder and Worship

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Released:
Jun 1, 2010
ISBN:
9780781404426
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Prepared to be awed by our God. The books of Hosea, Joel, Jonah, Nahum, Habakkuk, and Malachi are viewed by Biblical scholars as the Minor Prophets. Yet the insights and messages contained within these books are anything but minor. These prophets offer a unique, firsthand view of an all-powerful God who longs to intimately connect with His people. This study examines their personal stories to discover how He interacts with our world in truly amazing ways. Part of Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe’s best-selling “BE” commentary series, BE Amazed has now been updated with study questions and a new introduction by Ken Baugh. A respected pastor and Bible teacher, Dr. Wiersbe explores the Minor Prophets to uncover remarkable truths about our awesome God. What you’ll find will provoke wonder, inspire worship, and cause you to be amazed at what God is doing in our world.
Publisher:
Released:
Jun 1, 2010
ISBN:
9780781404426
Format:
Book

About the author

Warren W. Wiersbe, former pastor of the Moody Church and general director of Back to the Bible, has traveled widely as a Bible teacher and conference speaker. Because of his encouragement to those in ministry, Dr. Wiersbe is often referred to as "the pastor’s pastor." He has ministered in churches and conferences throughout the United States as well as in Canada, Central and South America, and Europe. Dr. Wiersbe has written over 150 books, including the popular BE series of commentaries on every book of the Bible, which has sold more than four million copies. At the 2002 Christian Booksellers Convention, he was awarded the Gold Medallion Lifetime Achievement Award by the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association. Dr. Wiersbe and his wife, Betty, live in Lincoln, Nebraska.


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Inside the book

Top quotes

  • Expecting a “quick fix” is one of the marks of an unrepentant heart that doesn’t want to pay the price for deep cleansing (Ps. 51:6–7).

  • When you behold the glory of God and believe the Word of God, it gives you faith to ac- cept the will of God.

  • They needed prayer and true repentance, but instead, they trusted politics and useless treaties. All the Lord could do was withdraw and wait for them to seek His face in truth and humility.

  • Minor Prophets, God shows love to His people by giving them a chance to repent and, when they don’t, bringing judgment not to punish but to discipline them and lead them to repentance.

  • Attribute 3: The Love of God. The very fact that God sends a prophet to His people to warn them of coming judgment is evidence that God is love.

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Be Amazed (Minor Prophets) - Warren W. Wiersbe

BE AMAZED

Published by David C. Cook

4050 Lee Vance View

Colorado Springs, CO 80918 U.S.A.

David C. Cook Distribution Canada

55 Woodslee Avenue, Paris, Ontario, Canada N3L 3E5

David C. Cook U.K., Kingsway Communications

Eastbourne, East Sussex BN23 6NT, England

David C. Cook and the graphic circle C logo

are registered trademarks of Cook Communications Ministries.

All rights reserved. Except for brief excerpts for review purposes,

no part of this book may be reproduced or used in any form

without written permission from the publisher.

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the King James Version of the Bible. (Public Domain.) Scripture quotations marked NASB are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © Copyright 1960, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission; NIV are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®. NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved; NKJV are taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved; TLB are taken from The Living Bible, © 1971, Tyndale House Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60189. Used by permission; and NRSV are taken from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The author has added italics to Scripture quotations for emphasis.

LCCN 2010923217

ISBN 978-1-4347-6505-5

eISBN 978-0-7814-0442-6

© 1996 Warren W. Wiersbe

First edition of Be Amazed published by Victor Books® in 1996 © Warren W. Wiersbe, ISBN 978-1-56476-541-3

The Team: Karen Lee-Thorp, Amy Kiechlin, Sarah Schultz, Jack Campbell, and Karen Athen

Series Cover Design: John Hamilton Design

Cover Photo: Veer

Second Edition 2010

Contents

The Big Idea: An Introduction to Be Amazed by Ken Baugh

A Word from the Author

Hosea in His Time

1. You Married a What? (Hosea 1—3)

2. What Will I Do with You? (Hosea 4—10)

Joel in His Time

3. Love So Amazing (Hosea 11—14)

4. Watching the Day of the Lord (Joel 1—2:27)

5. Expecting the Day of the Lord (Joel 2:28—3:21)

Jonah in His Time

6. Patience and Pardon (Jonah 1—2)

7. Preaching and Pouting (Jonah 3—4)

Nahum in His Time

8. The City Is No More (Nahum 1—3)

Habakkuk in His Time

9. The Prophet Worrying (Habakkuk 1)

10. The Prophet Watching and Waiting (Habakkuk 2)

11. The Prophet Worshipping (Habakkuk 3)

Malachi in His Time

12. The Sins of God’s People—Part I (Malachi 1—2:16)

13. The Sins of God’s People—Part II (Malachi 2:17—4:6)

Notes

The Big Idea

An Introduction to Be Amazed

by Ken Baugh

Not long ago I decided to do something that has been haunting me for years. I digitized twenty-one years of home movies. If you’re a non-techie, what that means is that I copied a ton of home movies into my computer. I’m not done yet, but I’ve made a significant dent in the huge box of videos. And as I was importing each video into my computer, I watched the last twenty-one years of my life flash by. I cried as I watched both of my girls take their first steps, I laughed out loud as I watched clips from family vacations, fun times at Disneyland, the beach, first dance jitters, and the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat during countless dance recitals and sporting events. Right before my eyes, my two little girls grew from babies into beautiful, godly young women. I was also struck by the love I have for my wife and the incredible marriage we have shared over the years. And I noticed that I used to be a pretty handsome guy with a ripped stomach and a full head of hair—oh well, some things are bound to change.

You probably have watched your own home movies and experienced similar emotions as you watched your life pass before you, but something else happened to me that I was not expecting. As I reviewed my life and that of my family, I was also reminded of the incredible faithfulness of God. There were some pretty difficult seasons over the last twenty-one years, and those were not captured on tape, yet as I watched the movies, I remembered. I remembered the long and trying years of seminary. I remembered the experience of a devastating layoff from a church position that I loved. I remembered the uncertainty of moving to Virginia from California as I accepted a new church position. And yet, as I look back on those difficult seasons many years later, I can clearly see the hand of God as He guided and provided for my family and me.

I’ve often heard it said that hindsight is 20/20, and I must say that I agree. Not all of those why questions I asked of God years ago have been answered, but in hindsight I have the evidence of God’s presence. Throughout my personal history I can look back and see the fingerprints of God’s character all over my life, and I am reminded yet again that history is actually His story, where we discover His character, His attributes, and the purpose of life. As I look back on my personal history, I see God’s attributes of love, patience, mercy, and power, to name a few.

The twelve books we call the Minor Prophets (because of their length, not their importance) represent God’s story spanning 450 years as He revealed Himself to His people and the world. The commentary you hold in your hand will introduce you to six of those twelve prophets. I believe the Big Idea that runs through these books is how God reveals Himself throughout history to His people and a watching world. Let me outline three of God’s attributes that you will see over and over again through these six prophetic books.

Attribute 1: The Sovereignty of God. The sovereignty of God is a running theme throughout each of the Minor Prophets as God shows Himself to be in control of all things. The important thing to remember about God’s sovereignty is that He allows all things to happen in accordance with His divine purposes. Because you and I are His children, everything that happens to us is not the result of random events that just happen—everything that happens is part of God’s ultimate plan. Now, make no mistake, God is not the author of evil. But He does allow evil things to happen to His people and works them into His divine purposes. I have discovered in my life and in the lives of countless others to whom I have ministered that what I may call bad is a tool in God’s hand that He uses for my good and His glory.

The apostle Paul reminds us, And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose (Rom. 8:28 NIV). This is no glib cliché or pat answer to Why do bad things happen to good people? Instead, it is the truth of God’s sovereign, omnipotent reign over my life and this world that allows Him to take any situation and use it for His glory.

Attribute 2: The Holiness of God. For God to be holy simply means that He is morally perfect in every way and as such cannot tolerate sin. To sin is to miss the mark of moral perfection. God cannot sin because He is perfectly holy, and in him there is no darkness at all (1 John 1:5 NIV). God is literally the definition of holiness. His holiness raises a significant problem for every human being, because we are all sinners and as such are separated from a holy and righteous God. Yet God enables every person to become holy in His sight through repentance and acceptance of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross as the payment for sin.

Throughout the Minor Prophets you will hear the prophets urgently calling God’s people to repent in light of looming judgment. As a holy God, He must judge sin. So He sends these prophets to His people to urge them to repent and trust in Him for salvation. As you study the writings of these prophets, look for this common theme of repentance, the solution that God offers.

Attribute 3: The Love of God. The very fact that God sends a prophet to His people to warn them of coming judgment is evidence that God is love. He is gracious and merciful, not wanting His people to perish. God is a loving heavenly Father, and He disciplines His children when they sin. This discipline at times seems harsh, but He uses it to bring us to repentance. The writer of Hebrews reminds us, Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons.… God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness (Heb. 12:7, 10 NIV). Throughout the Minor Prophets, God shows love to His people by giving them a chance to repent and, when they don’t, bringing judgment not to punish but to discipline them and lead them to repentance. As you study the writings of these prophets, look for the fingerprints of God’s love through His judgment and discipline.

The Minor Prophets span 450 years of history: It’s God’s story as He reveals Himself both to His people and to a watching world. Look for His attributes as you study, and make note of how often you see His sovereignty, holiness, and love. Then look back over your own personal history and Be Amazed at how God has worked in your life as His beloved son or daughter.

***

Dr. Wiersbe’s commentaries have been a source of guidance and strength to me over the many years that I have been a pastor. His unique style is not overly academic, but theologically sound. He explains the deep truths of Scripture in a way that everyone can understand and apply. Whether you’re a Bible scholar or a brand-new believer in Christ, you will benefit, as I have, from Warren’s insights. With your Bible in one hand and Dr. Wiersbe’s commentary in the other, you will be able to accurately unpack the deep truths of God’s Word and learn how to apply them to your life.

Drink deeply, my friend, of the truths of God’s Word, for in them you will find Jesus Christ, and there is freedom, peace, assurance, and joy.

—Ken Baugh

Pastor of Coast Hills Community Church

Aliso Viejo, California

A Word from the Author

When you compare them with the books written by Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel, the Minor Prophets are minor only in size. The messages the Minor Prophets wrote are of major importance. In fact, their messages ought to fill us with wonder.

We should be amazed as Hosea describes God’s jealous love and Joel pictures God’s glorious kingdom. Jonah and Nahum both deal with the wicked city of Nineveh and amaze us with God’s gracious long-suffering. Habakkuk watches the enemy approaching and invites us to be amazed at God’s righteous judgment. Malachi amazes us with his revelation of God’s contemptuous people, weary of serving the Lord.

Too many sleepy saints have lost their sense of wonder. The Minor Prophets shout at us to awaken us and invite us to open our eyes and be amazed at what God is doing in this world.

In this volume, I cover only six of the twelve Minor Prophets. Subsequent volumes will deal with Amos, Obadiah, Micah, and Zephaniah (Be Concerned), and Haggai and Zechariah (Be Heroic). The latter book will also include Ezra.

The Lord Jesus admonishes us to believe all that the prophets have spoken (Luke 24:25), and that includes the Minor Prophets. May we be faithful to receive and believe their messages and to obey what God tells us to do.

—Warren W. Wiersbe

Hosea in His Time

(1 Kings 12; 2 Chronicles 26—32)

After the death of King Solomon, his son Rehoboam pursued a course that divided the nation into two kingdoms. Rehoboam reigned over Judah, the southern kingdom, composed of Judah and Benjamin; and Jeroboam II1 ruled over the remaining ten tribes that formed the northern kingdom of Israel, also called Ephraim.

Fearful that the people would go back to Jerusalem to worship, Jeroboam I put golden calves at Bethel and Dan, thus leading the ten tribes into idolatry. Along with idolatry came immorality, and soon the religion of Israel become an evil blend of Jewish ritual and pagan idolatry. The people loved it.

The prophets were God’s spokesmen to call Israel and Judah back to the covenant God had made with them at Mt. Sinai. But the people refused to listen, and both kingdoms suffered for their disobedience. Israel became an Assyrian vassal in 733 BC and then was conquered by Assyria in 722 BC. The Babylonians invaded Judah in 606 BC and destroyed Jerusalem in 586 BC. Thousands of Jews died, and thousands more went into exile in Babylon.

Hosea ministered in the northern kingdom from about 760 to 720 BC. Israel was enjoying great prosperity, but Hosea could see that the nation was rotten to the core; for honest government, pure religion, godly homes, and personal integrity had vanished from the land. Judgment was inevitable. Hosea faithfully preached the Word, but the nation refused to repent and was finally swallowed up by Assyria.

A SUGGESTED OUTLINE OF THE BOOK OF HOSEA

Theme: Devotion to the Lord is like faithfulness in marriage. Idolatry is like adultery.

Key verse: Hosea 2:20

I. Israel’s Unfaithfulness Described (Hosea 1—3)

1. God is gracious (Hosea 1:1—2:1)

2. God is holy (Hosea 2:2–13)

3. God is love (Hosea 2:14—3:5)

II. Israel’s Sins Denounced (Hosea 4—7)

1. Ignorance (Hosea 4:1–11)

2. Idolatry (Hosea 4:12—5:15)

3. Insincerity (Hosea 6:1—7:16)

III. Israel’s Judgment Determined (Hosea 8—10)

1. The Assyrian invasion (Hosea 8)

2. The nation scattered (Hosea 9)

3. Reaping what they have sown (Hosea 10)

IV. Israel’s Restoration Declared (Hosea 11—14)

1. God’s past mercies (Hosea 11)

2. God’s present disciplines (Hosea 12—13)

3. God’s future promises (Hosea 14)

Chapter One

You Married a What?

(Hosea 1—3)

Prophets sometimes do strange things. For three years, Isaiah embarrassed people by walking the streets dressed like a prisoner of war. For several months, Jeremiah carried a yoke on his shoulders. The prophet Ezekiel acted like a little boy and played war, and once he used a haircut as a theological object lesson. When his wife suddenly died, Ezekiel even turned that painful experience into a sermon.1

Why did these men do these peculiar things?

These peculiar things were really acts of mercy. The people of God had become deaf to God’s voice and were no longer paying attention to His covenant. The Lord called His servants to do these strange things—these action sermons—in hopes that the people would wake up and listen to what they had to say. Only then could the nation escape divine discipline and judgment.

But no prophet preached a more painful action sermon than Hosea. He was instructed to marry a prostitute named Gomer, who subsequently bore him three children, and he wasn’t even sure the last two children were fathered by him. Then Gomer left him for another man, and Hosea had the humiliating responsibility of buying back his own wife.

What was this all about? It was a vivid picture of what the people of Israel had done to their God by prostituting themselves to idols and committing spiritual adultery. Since God’s people today face the same temptation (James 4:4), we need to heed what Hosea wrote for his people. Each of the persons in this drama—Hosea, Gomer, and the three children—teach us important spiritual lessons about the God whom Israel was disobeying and grieving.

THE CHILDREN: GOD IS GRACIOUS (1:1—2:1)

The times (1:1). Hosea names four kings of Judah and only one king of Israel, Jeroboam II. The kings of Judah, of course, belonged to David’s dynasty, the only dynasty the Lord accepted (1 Kings 11:36; 15:4). The kings of Israel were a wicked lot who followed the sins of Israel’s first king, Jeroboam I, and refused to repent and turn to God (2 Kings 13:6).

After Jeroboam II died, his son Zechariah reigned only six months and was assassinated by his successor, Shallum, who himself was assassinated after reigning only one month. Menahem reigned for ten years; his son Pekahiah ruled two years before being killed by Pekah, who was able to keep the throne for twenty years. He was slain by Hoshea, who reigned for ten years, the last of the kings of Israel. During his evil reign, the nation was conquered by Assyria, the Jews intermingled with the foreigners the Assyrians brought into the land, and the result was a mixed race known as the Samaritans.

What a time to be serving the Lord! Murder, idolatry, and immorality were rampant in the land, and nobody seemed to be interested in hearing the Word of the Lord! On top of that, God told His prophet to get married and raise a family!

The marriage (1:2). Here we meet a bit of a problem because not every Bible student agrees on the kind of woman Hosea married. Hosea either married a pure woman who later became a prostitute, or he married a prostitute who bore him three children.2

In the Old Testament, prostitution is symbolic of idolatry and unfaithfulness to God (Jer. 2—3; Ezek. 16; 23). Since the Jews were idolatrous from the beginning (Josh. 24:2–3, 14), it seems

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